Jason tipped for podium run


NAIROBI, Kenya, July 31- Commonwealth champion Jason Dunford has been tipped to bag a first Olympics swimming medal at London 2012 after being handed the honour of bearing the Kenyan flag during the opening ceremony nations’ parade.

Kenya Swimming Federation media officer Winnie Kamau told Capital Sport, the swimmer had a reason to shine after he was chosen to lead the procession on July 27 in the absence of Team Kenya captain World record holder David Rudisha and his assistant Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo.

Kamau further said the swimmer who has won 21 medals for his nation at various international events had the chance of more success after putting up a good showing in Beijing four years ago when he became the first Kenyan to swim in an Olympics final finishing fifth.

“It was a moment of pride to have Jason leading the Kenyan delegation at the opening show; we felt the concerned authorities gave swimming worthy recognition.

“For this reason, we believe he will reflect on the responsibility he was accorded and carry the flag to the medal standings,” said Kamau moments after Jason’s younger brother David was bundled out of the 100m freestyle event on Tuesday.

David, the African title holder swam 49.60 to trail Romania’s Norbert Trandafir (49.02) and Martin Verner of Czech Republic (49.49) failing to progress in the event held at the Excel Aquatic Centre in London.

“Even though he didn’t make the cut for the semi finals, we are happy with the time he posted in regard to the levels of competition present.

“He had good preparations and perhaps the pressure of having him participating as the second Kenyan may have played some part,” she added.

David will return to the pool for the 50m freestyle heats on Thursday while Jason will don the national colours in the 100m butterfly hoping for surpass the Beijing performance where he held the world record for seven minutes before it was broken by the eventual winner, Michael Phelps of the USA.

Jason, participating in his second Olympics has had impressive displays in his career including at the 2006 African Championships in Senegal winning Kenya’s first major international swimming gold medal.

“He has trained well for the challenge in addition to skipping school for a year to concentrate on his training,” intoned Kamau of the swimmer who was named Overall Men Swimmer of the Year at the 2011 All-Africa Games.

She noted the performance of the siblings will be a major boost for the federation as they embark on hosting this year’s edition of the Africa Swimming Championships at the newly refurbished Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani Aquatic Centre in September.

“They will motivate many swimmers from the continent besides opening up the sport to the stakeholders’ attention given that the two Olympians will be the star attraction,” she stated.

Since the country first entered the global showpiece in 1956, Kenya’s medals have come from the Athletics and Boxing disciplines.